If you’ve seen the name the Box Tops in the House of Blues schedule for a concert Saturday, the answer to your question is: Yes, those Box Tops.

This will be the first appearance in nearly 30 years by all the original members of the Memphis group that recorded such ‘60s favorites as “The Letter” and “Cry Like a Baby”--including singer Alex Chilton, the gruff-voiced teen prodigy who went on to become an alternative-rock cult hero.

Chilton, guitarist Gary Talley, bassist Bill Cunningham, drummer Danny Smythe and keyboardist John Evans reunited about six months ago for the first time since Smythe and Evans quit after the first 1967 hits. They’ve just finished recording an album of some of their favorite R&B; songs and have booked several shows over the next few months.


“Bill, who now works for the International Trade Commission, started calling about a year and a half ago to see if we wanted to do it,” says Talley, 49, a successful Nashville studio musician and songwriter. “So we started doing it just for fun. We agreed that if we didn’t like [the recordings] we would burn the tape in the parking lot before we went home.”

Even though the group had been apart, the Box Tops continued to have a strong presence on the oldies circuit in recent years. Chilton--in between gigs on his own and with a reunion of his influential ‘70s power-pop band Big Star--often performed Box Tops hits on oldies package concerts with a house band. And in the ‘80s a promoter acquired the group’s name and had groups billed as the Box Tops playing oldies shows.